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Cops warn ‘Tis the season to be wary

The holiday lights are up and all over town, toy drives are reminding us it’s the season for giving. Unfortunately, it’s also the season for taking, say police at the 109th Precinct in northeast Queens.
In the last week, at least three people have helped themselves to other people’s purses and wallets in downtown Flushing. In each case, bags were left unattended, and that’s an invitation to theft, according to Police Officer Anthony LoVerme, a Crime Prevention Officer at the 109th.
On Wednesday, November 14, around 8 p.m. a woman stopped to window-shop near 39th Avenue and Main Street. She put her bag down.
When she looked down, the bag was gone. A few moments’ inattention cost her: a digital camera, cell phone, wallet and almost $300 in cash.
Lunch hour on Friday, November 16 turned out to be pretty expensive for a woman who was holiday shopping at the Macy’s on Roosevelt Avenue, just east of Main Street.
“She put her bag on a rack while she looked at some merchandise,” LoVerme reported. “When she looked, her wallet was gone.”
Leaving an infant in a stroller to guard your bag isn’t an effective strategy, LoVerme pointed out.
On Sunday, November 18, shortly before noon, a woman at the McDonald’s at 40-18 Main Street left her bag in a stroller while she got her food. A minute later, her wallet was gone.
In recent months, cops in the 109th have been alerting the public whenever they notice a pattern of criminal behavior, and usually it helps. Reports of similar unattended handbag thefts at nearby shopping centers and parking lots are way down, according to LoVerme. “We want to try to nip this in the bud,” he said.
He stresses that the holiday season is also a time when people feel financial pressure, and some can’t resist the “easy pickings” of unattended handbags. “It’s just too tempting,” LoVerme said.

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